How to Set Up for Landmine Exercises (And 17 Highly Effective Exercises)

Everything you need to know to get strong with landmine exercises.

The landmine is one of the most valuable but underused pieces of equipment in the weight room. If you're not familiar, a landmine exercise refers to an angled barbell movement where one end of the barbell is on the ground and the opposite end is held by the lifter.

In my work as a high school and college strength coach, I've seen landmine exercises become increasingly popular over the past few years.

Strength coaches love that landmine exercises are extremely easy to learn and have fewer safety risks than traditional barbell exercises. You can often lift heavier weights with the landmine than you can with dumbbells, because you can load it with plates. Most gyms only have dumbbells up to about 100 pounds if you're lucky.

The angled barbell facilitates movements that are simply impossible with a traditional barbell or dumbbells. You can do exercises— such as a Deadlift, Squat or Single-Arm Row, and variations of a Single-Arm Press—that have a vertical and horizontal push, a combination that's impossible with a barbell or dumbbells.

Practically every landmine exercise I use with my athletes targets their core muscles in some way, shape or form, either because the bar is held to one side or they must brace their core against heavy weight. It's also possible to perform lifts explosively and even simulate Olympic lifts.

These unique qualities make landmine training highly transferable to a wide range of skills you might perform in sports, making it an ideal addition to a performance training program, or even a general training program for strength and fitness.

But first and foremost, we need to address the elephant in the room. How the heck do you actually set up for a landmine exercise? Here are three options.

RELATED: Build Explosive Power With the Landmine Thruster

Option 1: Use a landmine machine

Landmine Machine

Many gyms have a landmine machine, which is a metal tube built on a pivot system that can move in any direction. Simply slide one end of the barbell into the tube, put the plates (if you're using any) on the opposite end and you're ready to go.

Option 2: Place the barbell on a weight plate

Landmine Setup With Plate

Don't fret if you don't have access to a landmine machine. Simply center one end of the barbell in the hole of a 45-pound plate. This allows the bar to pivot, which simulates a landmine machine. Is it a perfect replacement? No. But it does the job. If you are using heavy weight, the end of the bar may come off the ground during some lifts. In this case, place a dumbbell over the bar to keep it from popping up.

Option 3: Place the barbell in a corner

You can place one end of the barbell in the corner of a wall or a squat rack. You might even see a section of wall damaged from repeated landmine use. This option is less than ideal, but it works well enough. Again, you might have a problem with the bar coming off the ground.

If all else fails, have a workout partner hold the bottom end of the barbell with their hands. They shouldn't need to work too hard to keep it in place.

Now, let's get into the fun stuff—the best landmine exercises for athletes. We'll break these down into sections based on the movement and body part trained.

Upper-Body Landmine Pressing Exercises

Half-Kneeling Landmine Press

How to: Kneel on your right knee and hold the collar of the landmine barbell with your right hand just in front of your shoulder. Tighten your core and right glute. Drive the barbell up until your arm is straight. Lower the bar back to the starting position in control. Perform a set on the opposite side.

The Half-Kneeling Landmine Press can be progressed simply by changing your lower-body position.

Isometric Lunge Landmine Press

How to: Perform a Landmine Press from a lunge position.

Tall Double Kneeling Landmine Press

How to: Perform a Landmine Press while kneeling on both knees.

Isometric Squat Landmine Press

How to: Perform a Landmine Press from a squat position.

Standing Landmine Press

How to: Perform a Landmine Press while standing with your feet shoulder-width apart or in a staggered stance.

Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

Landmine Squat

How to: Hold the collar of the landmine barbell with both hands in front of your chest and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive up out of the squat by straightening your hips and knees.

RELATED: Watch Kate Upton Perform a Heavy Landmine Squat

Landmine Jump Squat

How to: Use the same setup as the Landmine Squat, but jump up explosively out of the Squat. Land softly on both feet and immediately descend into the next rep.

Landmine Single-Leg RDL

How to: Stand balancing on your right leg and hold the collar of a landmine barbell in your left hand with the bar perpendicular to your body. Use straps if grip is an issue. Keeping your core tight and left leg straight, sit your hips back and allow your right knee to bend slightly. Keeping your back flat, continue to bend at the waist until the dumbbell is at about mid-shin height. Drive through your heel and push your hips forward to stand up to the starting position.

Landmine Reverse Lunge

How to: Hold the collar of a landmine barbell in your right hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your core tight, take a step back with your right leg and lower into a lunge until your left thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is just above the ground. Drive through your left heel to stand up to the starting position. Perform a set on the opposite side.

Reverse Lunge to Landmine Press

How to: Hold the collar of the landmine barbell with your right hand just in front of your shoulder and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your core tight, take a step back with your right leg and lower into a Lunge until your left thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is just above the ground. Perform a Landmine Press and then drive through your left heel to stand up to the starting position. Perform a set on the opposite side.

Upper-Body Landmine Exercises

Landmine Floor Press

How to: Lie on the ground and hold the collar of a landmine barbell with your left hand with your arm straight in front of your chest. The barbell should be perpendicular to your body. Lower the bar to your chest, then drive it up like you're performing a Dumbbell Press. Perform a set on the opposite site.

Landmine Meadow's Row

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly staggered so your right foot is about a foot behind your left foot. Bend at the waist so your torso is slightly above parallel. Hold the collar of a landmine barbell perpendicular to your body with your right hand directly below your shoulder. Keeping your back straight and core tight, perform a row so your hand is close to your armpit. Lower with control to the starting position. Perform a set on the opposite side.

T-Bar Row

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the waist so your torso is at a 45-degree angle. Hold the landmine barbell just below the plates with both hands, or use a cable handle or rope attachment. Keeping your core tight and back flat, pull your shoulders back and row the bar so your hands are near your stomach. Lower with control to the starting position.

Landmine Core Exercises

Landmine RDL with Offset Load

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the collar of a landmine barbell with your right hand. Keeping your core tight and back flat, sit your hips back and slightly bend your knees to lower the bar. Continue lowering until the plate (if you're using one) taps the ground or as far as flexibility allows. Drive through your hips to stand up to the starting position. Perform a set on the opposite side.

Landmine Squat with Offset Load

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the collar of a landmine barbell with your right hand. Keeping your core tight and back flat, bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive up out of the squat to return to the starting position.

Landmine Lateral Rollout

How to: Load a landmine barbell with a 25-pound plate and place it on the ground. Assume a push-up position and hold the collar of the barbell with your right hand directly under your shoulder. Simultaneously roll the barbell to the side with your right arm and lower into a Push-Up. Drive up out of the Push-Up and roll the barbell to the starting position. Perform a set on the opposite side.

Landmine Rainbows/Standing Rotation

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the collar of a landmine barbell with both hands. Keeping your body stationary, move the barbell in a rainbow-like arc. Bend slightly at the elbows while moving the weight, but try not to rotate at the hips or shoulders. Stand tall throughout the movement.

There are many other fantastic landmine exercises. However, this list should give you a great starting point for adding landmine exercises to your workouts.

RELATED: Save Your Shoulders With These Landmine Exercises

 


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CORE | COACH | EXERCISE | TRAIN | PRESS | BARBELL | LANDMINE